3 favorites to land Eduardo Rodriguez if geography isn’t an issue

Eduardo Rodriguez nixed a trade to the Dodgers because he didn't want to go to the West Coast. If his outlook has changed, however, these teams could emerge as strong contenders for his services.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers
Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers / Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
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2. Boston Red Sox

Rodriguez is open to the West Coast, but that won't preclude him from exploring the East Coast as well. The Boston Red Sox have a well-documented need for pitching, and new Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow is expected to hammer the free agent market hard. The Red Sox are another team connected to several top aces — Yamamoto, Blake Snell, and you guessed it, Eduardo Rodriguez.

The Sox have deep pockets and the benefit of history on their side. That's a prestige franchise that players want to play for. Boston's pitching staff suffered through injuries and inconsistency throughout last season. Brayan Bello is a rising star, but he's not ready to handle the No. 1 mantle for an aspiring contender. Enter Rodriguez.

Rodriguez doesn't smoke batters with elite heat. Rather, he commands the plate and pitches expertly to contact. He's the perfect mentor for the 24-year-old Bello, who will enter his third MLB season with a starkly similar approach. Bello landed in the 92nd percentile for ground ball rate last season, per Baseball Savant. Both pitchers keep the ball inside the park. For Bello, it's a matter of reducing walks and making it deeper into games.

Boston should expect a major leap from Bello in the near future, but he needs more support. Chris Sale has lost more than a step and Boston's backend starters leave much to be desired. Rodriguez would give the Red Sox a reliable, postseason-proven weapon who happened to spend the first six years of his career pitching in Fenway.

He won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2018. Perhaps he can help them get back to the promised land.